Breclav, Czech Republic – Canadian hockey fans are celebrating Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team’s golden performance following a 4-1 victory in the gold-medal game over co-host, Czech Republic, at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on Saturday.
The win marks the red-and-white’s 21st gold medal in 27 years of summer under-18 competition.
“It’s exciting. There are a lot of great teams and a lot of great countries [competing in the tournament], and to come out on top is pretty special,” said head coach Brent Kisio (Calgary/Lethbridge, WHL) of winning the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. “The place was rocking; it was a great atmosphere, and it was a lot of fun [to play the Czech team on its home ice]. We [told the players] to enjoy it; it’s a pretty special experience playing over here, with these fans [who were] awesome. A lot of credit goes to [the fans] for the atmosphere of the game tonight.”
The Canadians got on the board in the first with a goal from Jared McIsaac (Truro, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL) at 16:26. Team captain Joe Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Saint John, QMJHL) scored what would be the game-winning-goal at 2:19 in the second, while Kevin Bahl (Mississauga, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) and Jack McBain (Toronto/Toronto Jr. Canadiens, OJHL) – who also marked assists on the first two goals – each potted one for Canada before the final buzzer.
“It’s so amazing. I’m so proud to be here with the boys; I’m so happy to be Canadian. I just can’t describe [how it feels],” said goaltender Olivier Rodrigue (Chicoutimi, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) moments after the celebratory team photo on the ice. Rodrigue back-stopped Team Canada in four of its five tournament games, including the final, recording four consecutive victories.
The Canadians held the defending champions from the Czech Republic to 19 shots, peppering their goaltender with 46 shots on goal. The full game story and stats can be found at HockeyCanada.ca/Hlinka.
As announced last November, Canada will take a turn hosting the prestigious summer hockey staple on Canadian ice as Hockey Canada, the Czech Ice Hockey Association, and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation have struck a multi-year partnership which will see the tournament come to Edmonton in 2018, 2020, and 2022.